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A Pennsylvania man, who was convinced his 4-year-old son was demonically possessed, allegedly doused the boy in gasoline and later struck his own father in the jaw with a “red brick.”
Josiah James McIntosh, 27, allegedly intended to incinerate a demon he thought had possessed his son, according to a probable cause statement obtained by Oxygen.com.
“‘If we can get the demon out we’ll burn it,’” McIntosh allegedly told family after splashing gasoline on his son, Officer Christopher Kesslak told Oxygen.com.
On May 13, West Hills Regional Police Department responded to a home in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh, after reports of a domestic disturbance. There, they allegedly encountered the child’s grandfather, Brian McIntosh, who told law enforcement that his son, Josiah, reeked of gasoline and had been making threats against his grandson.
Brian McIntosh told responding officers that when he confronted his son about the odor, Josiah McIntosh referenced burning a “demon” out of the man’s 4-year-old grandson.
“When questioning his son, Josiah McIntosh, he stated to his father, ‘If we can get the demon, I’ll burn it out of him,” the probable cause affidavit said. “When questioned again, Josiah McIntosh made the same statement. Mr. McIntosh then told Josiah if you dumped gas on him, you can get the f--k out of my house.”
“He had made that comment actually twice to his father,” Kesslak also told Oxygen.com. “He repeated himself verbatim and that’s when the defendant’s father took action and tried to defend the child and protect himself at the same time.”
Josiah McIntosh then allegedly punched his father in the jaw and smashed his head with a “red brick,” as the Brian tried to push him out of the home, investigators said.
“[He] struck in the head with a brick by his son, Josiah McIntosh,” the probable cause affidavit stated.
Brian, who required medical attention, sustained injuries to his head and left side of his body, the affidavit added.
The 4-year-old had been stripped of his clothes and was dripping with gasoline when responding officers found the child at the Johnstown address.
“The child [was] naked inside the residence, with gasoline about his person and strewn inside the residence,” the affidavit added.
The young child wasn’t set on fire on the incident, law enforcement said.
Josiah McIntosh allegedly smelled strongly of gasoline and had a disposable lighter in his possession. He was arrested by local law enforcement without incident shortly afterward. Investigators described his demeanor as “very calm” and “cool,” but noted he said little during police interviews. It’s unclear what motivated the alleged attack.
“It’s hard to say,” Kesslak said. “It could be drugs, alcohol. … It could be a mental illness or a combination. That’s down the road for the courts to determine.”
Cambria County’s Children and Youth Services have since been notified of the incident, authorities said. The investigation is ongoing. West Hills Regional Police Department declined to comment further on the matter on Wednesday.
McIntosh was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, aggravated assault, simple assault, arson, and making terroristic threats, according to a criminal complaint. He was arraigned and is being held at a Cambria County detention facility on a $75,000 bond, jail officials said. It’s unclear if the 27-year-old father has retained legal counsel.
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